Donald Trump's 'hurtful and unjust' comments on Mexican migrants slammed by Miss Universe

Miss Universe is a joint venture between Mr Trump and NBC Universal

The reigning Miss Universe, Paulina Vega of Columbia (centre) called Mr Trump’s comments ‘unjust and hurtful’
The reigning Miss Universe, Paulina Vega of Columbia (centre) called Mr Trump’s comments ‘unjust and hurtful’

Now even royalty, of a sort, is turning on Donald Trump. Two weeks into to the ugly ruckus that began when he described Mexican immigrants as drug dealers and rapists while announcing his run for president, Paulina Vega, the reigning Miss Universe, has condemned his comments as “unjust and hurtful”.

The fallout from his comments had already begun to seriously damage his business interests. New York City, which has a golf course and a skating rink bearing the Trump name, is reviewing all ties with him. Macy’s, the giant retailer, is dropping his fashion lines. Hispanic leaders have derided him and are demanding that other Republican presidential hopefuls call him out too.

“Donald Trump’s remarks were disgusting and offensive, and this hateful language has no place in our city,” New York Mayor Bill de Blasio said on Wednesday. America’s top golfing bodies, including the PGA, were moved to issue a joint statement after he suggested that the sport somehow shared his outlook. “We feel compelled to clarify that those remarks do not reflect the views of our organisations,” it said.

But it is possible that Ms Vega’s rather mild reprimand (Colombian-born, she did go on to say that she would not be surrendering her crown) that will get under his very thick skin the most.

A joint venture between Mr Trump and NBC Universal, the Miss Universe Organisation is itself imperiled after NBC said it was pulling the plug on the partnership. On top of that, Univision, the biggest Spanish-language network in the US, said it would not broadcast the upcoming Miss USA Pageant, a spin-off of Miss Universe.

The debacle, which threatens to scramble all attempts by the Republican Party and its other presidential candidates to appeal to Hispanic voters in 2016, began when Mr Trump turned to the issue of illegal immigration in his announcement speech on 16 June. He spoke of building a “great, great wall” along the US-Mexican border. Mexican immigrants, he barrelled on, were “bringing drugs. They’re bringing crime. They’re rapists. And some, I assume, are good people”.

If Mr Trump is destined to be merely a side-show, or possibly freak-show, in the 2016 campaign, that cannot be said of his candidacy right now, with multiple new polls showing him running second nationally among the 14 Republicans who have so far declared, and doing equally well in some critical primary states such as New Hampshire. These numbers embolden him as he declines to back away from his comments.

Donald Trump continues to do well in the polls and has refused to back down from his comments

History suggests that his success may be fleeting, caused in part by high name recognition. In the meantime, however, by further harming the image of his party among Hispanics, an increasingly crucial voting bloc in America, he may be doing Democrats an enormous favour. If Hillary Clinton and the other Democrat hopefuls have said nothing, it’s because they don’t have to.

His rivals for the Republican nomination seemed determined at first also to stay mum. But aware that saying nothing might look like an endorsement of the Trump rant, they are slowly stepping forward. Senator Marco Rubio, who his himself Hispanic, said: “Trump’s comments are not just offensive and inaccurate, but also divisive.” Jeb Bush, the front-runner in several polls, limited himself to saying that Mr Trump was “wrong”.

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